Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Socially Acceptable Habits, Learning Curves, and Other Stuff

As I went through my email this morning, I was surprised to realize it was August. I changed rotations on Monday and so I knew it was August, but I suddenly realized we are 2/3 of the way through summertime. It seems impossible that I moved to Little Rock almost 8 weeks ago. I've already finished my first month(didn't kill anyone) and I'm off to the next big thing which for me is a month of Anesthesia and ultrasound. I spend my mornings in the OR placing endotracheal tubes(breathing tubes) and then dabble with the ultrasound in the ER all afternoon. I am both excited and nervous about this month. I never got to do any intubations or ultrasounding during medical school, so all of these skills are brand new territory for me with steep learning curves. Intubations, I hear, are pretty easy once you really get a handle for them. Day one, I watched several being placed and then stuck around to try some myself. I was pretty excited when I successfully placed 2 endotracheal tubes in a row and called it a day. I was very hopeful that I was simply a natural and all the worrying I had done about trying to learn this skill had been silly. Today however, I missed my first 2 tubes and realized maybe I was just lucky the first 2 times or maybe today was an off day. Either way, there is definitely a learning curve and I can't wait to be really good at it. I try to remind myself regularly that I am still learning and so it is okay to miss one. A couple weeks from now, I probably won't even have to think about it.
Today was my first day of ultrasound. We are lucky enough to have a great ultrasound director and I got a nice overview of expectations, the ultrasound machines, and then got to try my hand at a couple scans. This will likely be the much harder of the 2 skills to learn, but I am looking forward to it. Ultrasound is such a great tool in the ER and a strong ultrasound curriculum was one of the things I was looking for when I applied to residency.

As I have gotten immersed into the world of residency and Emergency Medicine, I have noticed some small changes in my habits and I have to be very careful to avoid socially unacceptable habits. For example, texting or calling someone at 2am is generally frowned upon even if it feels very natural to you. A lot of times when I get settled down for an evening and think about catching up with a friend, I'll start a text and then look up at the clock to see it is well past the acceptable hour of text time. Unless they are ER resident. I text them whenever, I figure there is a decent chance they are awake anyway. Another example is keeping med talk away from the dinner table. There are so few things that truly gross me out at this point in my career that I have to remind myself most people don't want to hear about an impressive open fracture while eating their spaghetti.

The Other Stuff
My sister, brother-in-law, and 3 year old niece drove a mere 7 hours to come down and explore Little Rock for my sister's birthday making them my first set of visitors. I think the drive was more than they were expecting, because I got texts like "where the hell did you move" and "this is taking forever." But somehow the trip finally ended and they arrived late afternoon on Friday. It is hard to believe that so much time has passed since I've seen them and they were a welcomed sight. I was excited to show them the new city I lived in and we had a great weekend. We stuck to strict local restaurants and doing things you can't do anywhere else. We checked out the farmer's market, the big dam bridge, the trolley cars, Clinton Museum, and drove around to see some of the other big landmarks around the city. I'm pretty sure Merideth's favorite part was actually going to the pool on Sunday. Mommy got to be the good mermaid and Daddy was the bad barnacle. I was mostly the one to carry her around the pool as she tried to save Mommy. Our visit came to an end on Sunday afternoon as they packed up to head back to Kansas. But with any luck they will be back in the spring as they pass through and we head for the beach. This was a weekend of firsts for little miss Mer. Her first vacation, first time in a different state(and first time in Arkansas), first time on a trolley car, first road trip. We will be expanding that list of firsts when we get her down to the beach.

In less than 2 weeks, I will be packing my bag and headed back to Missouri to visit my family. I am certain it will be a fast and furious few days while I'm there, but I am excited to see everyone. This may be the last time I get to go home for more than just a day or 2 for several months and so I plan to take full advantage.
Before the arrival of my sister's family on Friday, I spent my Thursday hiking with Shae at Petit Jean State Park. Hiking has become one of my absolute favorite things to do. I find being outside and being around water to be very relaxing and enjoyable. We hiked down to the waterfall and it was absolutely beautiful. The hike up was a bit more strenuous, but totally worth it. I can't wait to go back that direction and hike some of their other trails. Shae and I have decided to try to hike all of the state parks in Arkansas over the next 3 years by trying to go at least once a month. There are probably a few parks we will go to more than once, but Arkansas has 52 state parks for us to cover so we definitely have plenty of trails to explore.(Small side note: took Mer up to Pinnacle Mountain this weekend and I'm pretty sure I have a little hiker in the making.)

I have so many experiences that I want to have over the next 3 years while also working on becoming the best possible EM physician I can be. I plan do so a lot of traveling starting here in the states and plenty of hiking. Once I really start to get a solid study plan going for my in-service exam, I think I am going to try to learn some Spanish. So between learning new skills, studying, hiking, traveling, spending time with friends, keeping up with family, learning a new language, and keeping up with my own well-being(sleep, making dinner, working out) I should have my hands full for quite awhile.

Bonus Pictures
Sunset from where I walk some nights